Black Relationships : Key Elements for a Healthy Relationship

Discussion in 'Black Relationships' started by Afroerotik, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. Afroerotik

    Afroerotik Member MEMBER

    Sep 7, 2003
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    It’s become more and more apparent to me, over the course of the last couple of weeks, that most people are absolutely clueless when it comes to what constitutes and establishes a healthy relationship. What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. The choices we make in our relationships are blatantly unhealthy and then we cry and boo hoo that the other person has wronged us. I know that everyone isn’t on the same path of healing but it seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2005 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build a stronger relationship.

    NOW, I’ll be the first to say that I’m not an expert on relationships. I haven’t been in a relationship for almost 15 years. In those 15 years however, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to analyze why I’ve chosen the relationships I’ve been in, what I did wrong, what belief systems I need to change, and trying to conceptualize exactly how I want any future relationships I enter into. I’ve tried to determine exactly what I want my partner to be like, how I want to interact with my partner, what I bring to the table, and what things I will and will not compromise on in a partnership. I’ve come up with some things that I think are essential for building a healthy relationship and I’m going to share my thoughts on the subject with the hopes that some other people will come up with criteria that will work for them in building a strong relationship.

    1. First and foremost, in order to build a healthy and strong relationship, you must, you MUST look at why you are the way you are. You have to figure out why you like the men that don’t like you, why you choose the women that need to be rescued and then you resent them when they ask you for security. You have to look at the reasons behind why you fall in love in a week and then three months later you hate that person like they are a serial killer. Why do you continue to love people that don’t love you? Why do you feel like your life is over when you get rejected? All of the reasons why we behave the way we do are set up in our childhood. We duplicate the things we experienced in our childhood so we must figure out what caused us to be the way we are. Your dad wasn’t around, your mother played the martyr “Strong Black woman” icon, you saw her have a string of no good men come in and out of your life, you wanted your daddy to love you, you wanted to be like your daddy, cool and aloof and unattached . . . whatever the belief system, you have to figure that out first and foremost so you can identify the pattern in your relationships and work to correct it. When you see that red flag pop up, you can understand where it comes from and then work towards moving to a healthier place. The problem with looking at our past is that it’s painful. We don’t want to have to face the fact that we think we are unworthy of love because we feel fat, ugly, insecure, or flawed. We don’t want to admit to ourselves that we have fears of abandonment from when we had to go live with our auntie when we were little. It is that acknowledgement and that ability to examine YOUR OWN LIFE that will make you a better person in a relationship and without that, you are doomed to continue to perpetuate those same horrible relationships over and over again.

    2. You must have a set of emotional criteria that you feel is essential for what constitutes a loving relationship for you. You must define your emotional boundaries and establish what you need emotionally in a relationship and you have to demand that from your partner. What does that mean? Everyone has different things that would make them feel loved and valued, you have to have that clearly defined in your head and then seek a partner that is willing to help you paint that picture. If you meet someone and they can’t subscribe to your vision of love, if its too much of a burden for them to do the things you need to feed you emotionally, that’s not the person for you. For some people, you need a partner that will call you every day and check in with you just to make sure you are doing okay. For others, it means you need physical affection, constant hugs and kisses, and intimacy. Others still might need a relationship in which there is no fighting. You have to know what you want your relationship to look like in order for you to be able to achieve it. The trick is to identify the emotional things that build strong relationships and not the material things that damage them.

    Suppose, as a woman, you think love is having a man buy you all sorts of thing and pay all your bills. You seek that out in a partner and then he beats you, controls your every move, you feel trapped. What you’ve done is identify a selfish material need, not an emotional need. The emotional need would be to feel security. Security comes in many forms and can be expressed in lots of ways. If your man helps you organize your bills so you can pay them on time yourself, helps you get your resume together so you can get a better job with more income, quizzes you with interview questions, if he helps you plan a budget so that you can save to buy a house and you won’t have to be uprooted once a year, that’s meeting your emotional needs, not your physical ones. If, as a man, you want a relationship where you have a woman that looks like she stepped off the cover of a magazine or a video set every day in order to show other men that you are better than them, in order to prove that you have what it takes to get the best looking woman, what you are looking for emotionally is confidence and self esteem. That can’t come from a woman; true confidence and self-esteem must come from inside. That woman that has her hair done all the time, her nails and toes painted to match, that wears the designer outfit in her two-seater, convertible sports car will not honor you as a man, she will use you for your money and move on when the next man with more money offers to buy her. The woman that will help you go back to school and get your degree, and who will get up at 5 am on a Saturday morning to help you train for that marathon is the woman that will support your accomplishments and be a loving partner. As long as you go for the packaging and not what’s inside, you’ll be doomed to be miserable in your relationships.

    3. A healthy relationship must be built on integrity and selflessness. Integrity means steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code and selflessness means exhibiting, or motivated by NO concern for oneself; unselfish. Those are foreign words to most people these days because we’ve been socialized to look out for self. The idea of putting another person’s feelings above our own is impossible for some people to grasp. You can’t be in a healthy relationship if you lie, cheat, or make choices that benefit you and not your partner. Every choice, every decision, every move you make has to benefit your partner or your relationship. Now, here’s the rub. Your partner has to have the same commitment to the relationship in order for it to work. You can’t say, “I love XYZ, but I have to go out on Friday night to party because that’s what I love to do and if they don’t like it, too bad.” Well, that’s not entirely true. You can say that but you will be in a very unhealthy relationship if you do. To be in a healthy relationship, you have to put your needs last and have a partner that is willing to put their needs last as well. If both of you are working on building a relationship where you honor and love the other person, where you put the other person’s needs ahead of your own, both of you will be in a relationship where neither on will jeopardize the relationship by doing something selfish. That means you can’t have instant gratification all the time. That means you won’t cheat when the opportunity comes up because you think you can get away with it because you will think about your spouse and know that your actions would hurt them. You won’t stay out all weekend without calling because you will know that they will be worried to death about you. You won’t buy the super expensive hot tub or the entertainment system you’ve always wanted without asking permission first because you know any selfish choice you make for yourself in the relationship will negatively effect how you get along. You will ask your partners opinion on things and come to a compromise that honors both of you.

    4. It almost goes without saying because it’s so essential and most people will say they want it in a relationship but hardly anyone at all practices it. Honesty is the foundation for a healthy relationship. Honesty means telling your partner all your dirty little secrets, fears, fantasies, dreams, and insecurities. Honest y is the ultimate measure of respect for your partner and it’s the cornerstone for two people relating in a way that will grow and build. You must start by being honest with yourself. That means you must be able to admit to yourself that you really do like the idea of having sex in a tub of chocolate pudding and that it’s not going to go away, no matter how much you want it to. You have to tell be able to tell your partner all of the things that make you tick or otherwise you are only presenting a shell of yourself to your partner and you are not allowing them to love all of you. If you have a sexual fantasy that you are afraid to share you’re your spouse, that means you are ashamed of your fantasy. If you are ashamed of your fantasy, that means you are not being true to yourself. “But my wife will never understand that I want to get ****** in the *** with a strapon, she’ll think I’m gay.” “My boyfriend will never understand that I want to be gangbanged.” If you are with a partner who will not be willing to communicate and love you for who you are, you aren’t in a healthy relationship. There is no consensual sexual fantasy or fetish that should not be able to be discussed. You, as an adult, should be able to A.) point to the emotional need it fills in you and work to get that in other ways, and B.) keep in mind that if you choose to fulfill a fantasy without your partner, you’ve violated the rule of putting your partner’s emotional needs first.

    Honesty goes far beyond just sharing your fantasies. You have to be able to tell your spouse that you peed your pants in the third grade when the teacher called you to the blackboard and you were nervous because you didn’t know the answer. You have to be able to tell your spouse that your cousin molested you when you were 10 and it’s ****** with your head ever since. You have to have a commitment to telling your partner that you’ve made a mistake and were unfaithful and let them choose how to process that information in a way that is healthy for them. You have to not keep the information that the IRS is going to repossess your home for tax fraud you had before you got married. Any time you keep a secret from your spouse, any time you lie, and time you allow dishonesty to come between you and your partner, you are chipping away at the foundation of your healthy relationship.

    “Well, I’m in a relationship and I know that he or she will leave me if I told them the truth about all the **** I’ve done.” That is a glaring indication that you are in an unhealthy relationship. There are too many things that will work to destroy your relationship outside your front door. Again, you have to have a commitment to telling the truth and you have to have a partner that is equally as committed to telling the truth. If you start letting dishonesty in your relationship, your partner will not have your back when the **** hits the fan. Having a healthy relationship is not easy, in fact, it’s very hard. Lies and healthy relationship just don’t mix.

    5. Good communication is essential in building a healthy relationship. You and your partner must have a way to disagree that doesn’t include yelling, screaming, and calling names. Most of us don’t know how to do that so go get a book on communication or go to counseling. You must be willing to let your partner be mad without getting defensive. You must be willing to let your partner have the space they need in order to process their emotions. You have to be willing to look things from their perspective and see things as they see them. You have to be willing to find a partner that is committed to having the same standard to communication as you or else you’ve just entered into another dysfunctional relationship.

    6. Similar belief systems are a key ingredient to building a strong, healthy relationship. I’ve heard many people say that they want a partner who shares the same social interests as them but they don’t care what their philosophical, or political, or spiritual beliefs are. That is a recipe for a shaky relationship at best. It would be great if you and your partner liked the same music and movies and you both liked to bowl. Those things are entertainment and it would be great to share those things with your partner. If, however, you are looking to build a healthy relationship with you partner, those things are icing on the cake and not the key ingredients to building a relationship. If you are a radical libertarian and you get involved with someone who thinks Bush is the best president since Reagan (which is saying a whole helluva lot) then you are going to be setting up arguments in your relationship about your core beliefs. If you like skating and your partner likes chess but you both are staunch Green Party, Pro-Choice, Anti-war, vegetarian, Hassidic Jews then you can go out skating, your partner can go out and play chess and when you come home you’ll be share your thoughts and feelings over a plate of curry lentils and plan out a strategy to hug a tree and rally for legislation to bring our soldiers home. Those are the things that will make the community better and building a strong community starts with building a strong family unit first. If you like 50cent and your partner like Cold Play, you can set times to listen to your music and his or her music that doesn’t piss both of you off. If you believe in your heart that a gay couple has a right to adopt and your partner does not, you are going to go to bed pissed off and mad many, many night.

    7. Compromise is a huge keyword for relationships. People seem to confuse compromising with your partner and compromising your standards. If you have done your homework and you are really interested in building a strong relationship, you’ve already decided what you need to emotionally fulfill you. With that list in hand, you need to compare every person you meet to that list and decided which things are must haves, which things are “nice to haves.” On your emotional list, you must be rigid in the selection of your partner because if you compromise on what you need, you’ll end up unhappy and miserable and you’ll end up sabotaging your relationship by trying to make your partner feel as unhappy as you are. Now, there’s another list of things that you want in your partner, the physical things. You want a partner that is a certain height, weight, complexion, hair length, etc. Other than hygene, treat everything on that list with a grain of salt. “Oh, but I know what I like and I can’t change what turns me on.” That’s great. Mature adults in healthy relationships, however, can see far beyond the outside of the package. Make your priority the qualities of the heart you are looking for and not the 38DDDs or the 10 inch ****. Compromise inside of a relationship is essential. Once you’ve found the person that has looked at their own issues, that is committed to being honest, and putting your feelings ahead of theirs, that is interested in communicating without yelling and has the same passions as you, THEN and only then can you compromise on what movie to go to Friday, whose parents you are going to for the holidays, and what to name the children. In order to get the sort of person that is worthy of that sort of compromise, you must BE that sort of person first. All too often, we say, “Oh, I’ll change when I meet the person that is worth it.” Sadly, you have to change who you are first and then you’ll attract the sort of people that will be worth it.

    If you aren’t in a relationship now and you want to be, how do you ensure that the next relationship will be healthier than your last? Go down the list and start by making a commitment that you are going to work on all of those things before you enter into a relationship again. Practice being honest, it’s not easy. Practice resolving conflicts in a different way. Decide what emotional needs you want met in your relationship and be willing to put them on the table as non-negotiables. When you find a person and they fit the outside criteria and not the emotional needs, make a commitment to pass and continue to invest your time and energy into relationships that is healthy. Sit down and write out all the things that shaped your personality. Take the time to really get to know a person BEFORE you commit to them. Take some time to get to know yourself. That means stay in the house for a few weekends, don’t talk on the phone every night trying to find someone to hook up with. Don’t be so desperate to be in a relationship that you throw yourself at the next person that shows interest in you. I’d say if you did any combination of those things, you’d be on your way to a more fulfilling, satisfying, enriching relationship than the ones you’ve been in in the past.

    Copyright 2005 Scottie Lowe
  2. Radical Faith

    Radical Faith Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 3, 2003
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    Operations Manager
    North Carolina
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    Welcome to Destee Afroerotik.

    I hope your stay here is pleasant. Feel free to browser our forums...

    Wow! You said a mouthful..Here are my spin on keys to a successful relation.

    Self examination: Understand who you are and your stengths and weakest...

    The Three C's: Common Courtesy, Common Descency and Common Sense. Become proficient in these area and you'll be well on your way to success...

    Satisfy your needs before your wants: All that may be good to you may not necessarily be good for you...

    Love, Love, Love: Express your love for your mate fearlessly and unshamed.

    Plan to be together forever: If you plan an escape route one day you will be tempted to use it.

    Do not put the cart before the horse: If you are not sure about marrying this person don't do things married people do.

    Lastly If you want to learn about successful relationships ask people who in a successful relationship.

    The Formula for success still as relevant as it is today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow...

  3. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

    United States
    Mar 21, 2001
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    BUSINESS owner
    +4,174 / -2
    let me welcome you also to Afroerotik
    you hitting some key points that many don't give time to see
    i always take that long look inside the mirror and see who i am
    what is my reason and where i want to be in a relationship i learned
    to love but be loved , use understanding over hate and treat her as
    i want to be treated , show unconditional support have that intent
    ear to listen often to love someone you must love your self first
    beyond the past relationships it brings a health warmth to a new start

    continue to share and express all elements of love
    i too have took many years and still studing black love
    relationships and why they crumble so fast that kill any thoughts
    of marriage or engagements , good love and health relationships
    start from within outward , the respect , your loyality & honor
    understanding and will from the heart often actions speaks .......

    Again welcome to the house of peace & respect ....
  4. cursed heart

    cursed heart Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jan 12, 2006
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    +38 / -0
    I really enjoyed reading your information.
    Welcome to
    Let me ask you this, what if you found all of theses qualities in a friend?
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